Children of Mana
|Children of Mana|
North American box art
Children of Mana, known in Japan as Seiken Densetsu DS: Children of Mana (聖剣伝説DS CHILDREN of MANA Seiken Densetsu DS: Chirudoren obu Mana?, lit. "Holy Sword Legend DS: Children of Mana"), is a 2006 action role-playing game for the Nintendo DS handheld game console, part of the Mana series and, more specifically, of the World of Mana project launched by Square Enix. Children of Mana is the first game of the World of Mana and was developed by Nex Entertainment under the supervision of Koichi Ishii.
In the middle of the island of Illusia stands the famous Tree of Mana. Several years ago, a great disaster took place at the base of the tree and many lives were lost, leaving the main characters as orphans. A brave young boy and girl used the Sword of Mana to save the world from disaster. Now, years later, the main characters set out to investigate the details of the event that took so many loved ones away from them.
It was released on March 2, 2006 in Japan and was subsequently released on October 30, 2006, and January 12, 2007, in North America and Europe, respectively. It received mixed reviews, with generally positive reviews in Japan and negative ones in the United States.
Unlike previous games in the series, Children of Mana is a dungeon crawler, and the majority of the gameplay takes place in selected locations. These areas are reached by the player selecting them on the world map, and travels to them from the safe area of Mana Village by using Flammie. The primary objective in each location is to clear the dungeon of monsters and the boss, like most dungeon crawlers. Progress is made between each zone by the player finding an item called a Gleamdrop, then carrying it and placing it in a pillar of light called a Gleamwell. The player must repeat this process on each floor until the last floor is reached, where the boss lies. Dungeons can be returned to later by accepting side-quest-like missions from townsfolk, in which the dungeon itself can be slightly altered: the player's starting position may be different, the number of floors can increase, and the monsters contained may change.
The game retains the real-time battle mechanics of previous games in the Mana series. The environments also retain interactivity with weapons and items seen in certain Seiken Densetsu titles. New to the series is the Dual-Weapon system, which gives the player the ability to wield two weapons at once on the X and A buttons. The game sports four weapons with their own unique purposes, abilities and effects on the environment. Each weapon has standard normal attacks, special attacks, and fury attacks. The fury attacks are the strongest and require a full Fury Gauge to use, which is filled by striking enemies with standard attacks and taking damage from enemies. Unlike Seiken Densetsu 3, the weapons in Children of Mana can be wielded by any character. Also unlike previous games in the series, there are only four available weapons: sword, flail, bow & arrow, and hammer. Each weapon allows for a different fighting style and for other secondary uses, such as the hammer's ability to smash pots, boxes and spikes, or the bow's use as a harp which mesmerizes nearby monsters.
The eight Elementals from the previous games return once again to provide the characters with magical spells. Magic serves offensive purposes by unleashing element-themed attacks upon enemies, as well as supportive purposes by imbuing the character's attacks with their magical element, for example. Unlike previous games where a gamut of magical abilities are available to the players at any time, only one Elemental's powers are available at any time in a dungeon. The player chooses which Elemental "to take with them" while they are in a town. In combat, the Elemental can be summoned by holding and releasing the B button. It will then respond according to the players reaction: waiting a few seconds will cause the Elemental to use a powerful magic attack, while walking up to and touching the Elemental will bestow benefits upon the player, such as regained hit points or having their weapon take on characteristics of that Elemental's affinity. An Elemental's level can be raised to 2 or 3 by equipping Gems, which allows for stronger magical abilities. Children of Mana is often criticized for having a weakened elemental system, as offensive summoning is slow and deals damage much more inefficiently than simply using whichever weapon the player prefers. The commonly accepted "most helpful" elementals are Wisp the Light Spirit and Luna the Moon Spirit, because of their healing abilities.
Children of Mana features a cooperative multiplayer mode that can support up to 4 players at once. The game only uses local wireless, and does not support Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection online services. The multiplayer mode does not allow the players to save their progress in the game while playing in it, although experience and items received can be saved later after leaving the multiplayer party. The player hosting the session is able to keep the progress data after multiplayer is finished and can continue the story onwards; however, the other players will find themselves back where they started in their own games, with only the additional stats and items gained while playing multiplayer. Items directly related to the story, such as weapons like the flail and hammer, cannot be obtained by anyone but the host. There are, however, a few items that can only be obtained as bonuses by playing through stages using this mode.
This installment of the series takes place in the world of Fa'diel on the island of Illusia where, at the center of the island, stands the famous Tree of Mana. Several years ago, on the island of Illusia, an event known the "great disaster" took place at the base of the Mana Tree and many lives were lost. During this event, a brave young boy and girl used the Sword of Mana to save the world from disaster. Now, years later, a group of orphans sets out to investigate the details of the event that took so many loved ones away from them. The player must journey through the rest of Fa'diel's five continents of Jadd, Topple, Wendell, Ishe, and Lorimar to complete the game, traveling to the other continents by riding Flammie from place to place using the "Flammie Drum."
The four major characters of Children of Mana are Ferrik, Tamber, Poppen, and Wanderer. They all live together in the Mana Village, near the Mana Tree.
Ferrik is a fifteen-year-old boy who is said to be brave, bright and cheerful. He lost his parents and sister in the great disaster. After having his life saved by a knight, he has been honing his skills with the sword. Ferrik's weapon of choice is the sword. He has an average build stat-wise, but he does excel at weapon combat.
Tamber is a sixteen-year-old girl, with a sense of truth and justice, and an air of maturity about her. She lost her parents and little brother due to the great disaster. Tamber's weapon of choice is the bow. She excels with agility, and has higher than average capabilities with magic.
Poppen is a nine-year-old boy, who is stubborn and isn't afraid of anything. He lost his mother at birth and his father in the great disaster. Poppen's weapon of choice is the flail. His physical stats are poor but his magical abilities are superior to all the other characters.
Wanderer is a traveling merchant, a tradition kept throughout the series. He is a member of the Niccolo tribe of rabbit/cat people. Wanderer's weapon of choice is the hammer. He is a brute, with the highest ratings for physical stats such as attack and defense, but does poorly with magic.
One day the stone at the base of the Mana Tree cracks following a flash of light, distorting time and space. The hero recalls how their friend Tess, who is a priestess, went to the Mana Tower to pray. After reaching the tower with an Elemental in tow, the hero finds the tower is infested with monsters. Upon fighting their way to the top of the tower, the hero finds Tess, frightened but unharmed. Suddenly, a giant flaming bird descends upon the two. The hero attempts to fight it, but finds that the bird is protected by a sort of barrier.
Then, out of the blue, a tall sword falls from the sky. The sword's power causes the bird's shield to fade away, allowing The hero to slay the beast. When the bird is defeated, a mysterious man garbed in black appears. He attempts to take the Holy Sword, which is still stuck in the ground, but finds that it is protected by a barrier. Intrigued, the man disappears, upon which The hero takes the Holy Sword, which turns out to be the fabled Sword of Mana.
Upon returning from the Mana Tower, the hero discovers that three mysterious pillars of light have struck in the lands of Topple, Jadd, and Lorimar. The hero, after being asked by Mayor Moti and Watts the Dwarf, investigates these places in each one finding a huge monster at the end. After completing their task in Lorimar, the mysterious man appears once again, identifying himself as the Mana Lord. He steals the Mana Sword and brews up a large storm in the land of Wendel. The hero must once again head out to a distant land and stop the Mana Storm. There is once again a confrontation with the Mana Lord. When he is about to kill the hero, a group of gems appear around him to prevent his attack. He decides he must kidnap Tess and vanishes. The hero races back to the Mana Village.
From there, the hero heads to the Ruins, which turns out to be what Illusia will be like if things keep going the way they are going. After defeating the shadows of their former family in an epic boss battle, the hero finds nothing but a little toy horse, which he keeps.
Following the adventure in the Ruins, the hero heads for the Path of Life under the roots of the Mana Tree. At first the entrance seems to be sealed, but the toy horse the hero had found in the Ruins conveniently opens the way.
At the end of the Path, the Mana Lord is waiting for the hero. Upon his defeat, the Mana Lord reveals that he never intended to directly harm anyone, that he was one of the two children of Mana, the other spreading disaster through the world, and that he was simply trying to fulfill the reason he was created: "to fill the world with the power of Mana." He then proceeds to give the Mana Sword to the hero, then throws himself off a cliff in an act of suicide. This shift in power causes a rift to open in the sky, where the second child of Mana waiting. The hero destroys this second child, the Scion of Mana, restoring the world to peace.
In the aftermath, Tess and the Elementals are entrusted with care of Illusia, while everyone else must leave. Moti says that Illusia will be protected as a haven, and that humans won't return for many more years. They make for Jadd, to start a new life in a new world.
A Seiken Densetsu game for the Nintendo DS was announced just prior to the Japanese launch of the handheld system in late 2004. The following spring, a trailer for the World of Mana project was shown at E3 2005, but the project was kept mostly under wraps by publisher Square Enix. The new installment, now titled Children of Mana, was not revealed as a separate game until that September.
Children of Mana was developed by Nex Entertainment. The game features an opening cinematic by acclaimed anime studio Production I.G. The game was designed and produced by Koichi Ishii, the creator of the Seiken Densetsu (Mana) series. The game was directed by Yoshiki Ito, and the characters were designed by Nao Ikeda and Ryoma Itō. The script was written by Teppei Suzuki, Takeshi Kawamura, and Michita Nagato, based on the original and additional story provided by Masato Kato and Atushi Comine, respectively. Passing up the opportunity to utilize the Nintendo Wifi function of the DS, Ishii's aim was to create a multiplayer experience similar to that of Secret of Mana in which players could enjoy the game with those close to them, as opposed to playing with people far away. Furthermore, the developers decided upon a randomly generated dungeon crawl mechanic to make Children of Mana a "fun-for-all action type game."
The music for the game was composed by Kenji Ito, Masaharu Iwata, and Takayuki Aihara. The Seiken Densetsu DS: Children of Mana Original Soundtrack features 33 tracks spanning two discs. It was made available exclusively for paid download on the Japanese iTunes Store on May 9, 2006.
|Seiken Densetsu DS: Children of Mana Original Soundtrack tracklist|
|Disc 1 (43:51)
||Disc 2 (40:22)
Seiken Densetsu DS: Children of Mana sold near 103,000 units on its first 3 days on sale in Japan (between March 2 and March 5). As of November 2008, the game has sold over 281,000 copies in that region. In Japan, Children of Mana received an impressive score of 36/40 (individual reviews: 10/10/8/8) from Famitsu.
As for the reviews abroad, Children of Mana has been met with relatively mixed. Some reviewers thought that the game was a boring hack-and-slash, such as Nintendo Power (which gave it a 6.5), while others have given it higher praise, such as an 8.0 from IGN, though their review of the UK version gives the game 6.8.
- "Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth for PSP". GameSpot. Retrieved 2008-07-10.
- "The Children of Mana". Nintendo Power. 2006-01-01. Archived from the original on June 30, 2006. Retrieved 2006-10-05.
- Craig Harris (August 10, 2004). "Nintendo DS Line-up, Part Two". IGN.com. Retrieved 2008-06-21.
- Anoop Gantayat (September 28, 2005). "Mana At Last". IGN.com. Retrieved 2008-06-21.
- "Products" (in Japanese). Nex Entertainment. 2010-07-13. Retrieved 2010-07-20.
- Hirohiko Niizumi (December 1, 2005). "Children of Mana gets delivery date". GameSpot.com. Retrieved 2008-06-21.
- Square Enix Co., Ltd. (30 October 2006). Children of Mana. Nintendo DS. Square Enix Co., Ltd.
- RPGamer staff (2006). "RPGamer Feature - Children of Mana Interview with Kouichi Ishii". RPGamer.com. Retrieved 2008-06-21.
- "Seiken Densetsu DS: Children of Mana Original Soundtrack -Sanctuary-". SquareEnixMusic.com. Retrieved 2008-06-21.
- "Children of Mana Reviews". GameRankings.com. Retrieved 2008-12-17.
- "Children of Mana (ds: 2006): Reviews". Metacritic.com. Retrieved 2008-12-17.
- "Top Selling Software (French)". Jeux-france.com. 2006-03-05. Retrieved 2006-08-08.
- "Nintendo DS Japanese Ranking". Japan-GameCharts.com. Retrieved 2008-12-14.
- Go Nintendo » Blog Archive » Children of Mana Famitsu score- What are you waiting for?
- Official Children of Mana site
- Official World of Mana site (Japanese)
- Seiken Densetsu DS: Children of Mana at IGN.com
- Children of Mana at Seikens.com